A&P Travel Documentary Equipment

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by davidI, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. davidI

    davidI New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Messages:
    2,639
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Up in the Air
    I spent 2.5 years traveling the world and am off on another 6 - 18 month adventure shortly. This round, I've considered filming a travel documentary based on my overseas experiences. I've been into photography for ~15 years and have spent plenty of time in the darkroom and more recently transitioned to digital. I'd like to try my hand at film now but am having a hard time figuring out what I'll need to film a decent documentary. I've spent countless hours researching already, but need to start buying equipment soon as I head out in less than a month. If possible I'd like to keep my spend <$4k CDN, but do have some flexibility.

    #1 Camcorder - I looked at prosumer cameras like the HVRA1U & HD1000U but decided they're too big and bulky for travel. Plus, there is the potential for issues at immigration as I'd rather not be seen as a journalist. I've read that it may be best to stick to HDV / Mini-DV format - what's a good camera that will give me the manual flexibility to begin learning proper videographer skills? I read great things about the Canon HV20 when it came out as a camcorder that would fit my needs - is the HV40 the best current iteration for my needs or is there a comparable Sony / Panasonic worth looking at?

    #2 Laptop - Looks like Mac is the way to go with Final Cut Pro. I've read all sorts of conflicting information with respect to which model of Macbook Pro I should get though. I figure when it comes down to editing I can get an external monitor, so screen size isn't necessarily a deciding factor, and smaller is better when it comes to travel. The 17" is also plenty expensive. I've read that the 13" can't run all the features in FCP because it doesn't have a dedicated video card - which would guide me towards the 15". Will the 15" do for me? I've read some stuff about the firewire port being an issue - presumably because people want 2 FW ports so they can import video from their camera directly to an external HD?

    #3 External HD - I haven't played around with much video editing software in the past, but I know storage is always a big factor. What should I be looking at for an external HD to pair with the Macbook Pro.

    #4 Tripod, Lights, Mic (external sound necessary?) - Any budget / compact recommendations for these accessories? Any other must-haves for filming. Content is going to have to play a larger part than quality in my documentary but I'd still like to aim for a reasonable quality!

    #5 Workflow - Can anyone give me any hints / tips for how I should approach my filming, storage, import, editing and output. I know I have a ton to learn about FCP and I'll make tons of mistakes along the way, but any helpful newbie hints would be appreciated!!!

    Sorry for the long post - but I'd really appreciate any help you can offer as it's a rather complicated endeavour to jump into with such short lead-time!!
     
  2. dmora

    dmora Guest

    Talk to Jcolman he did film at his old gig.
     
  3. Keiphus

    Keiphus my dog eats bears

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    6,138
    Likes Received:
    0
    Personally, I don't see why you'd spend all this money on everything else and buy a crappy camcorder? If you're going to be out there shooting for 1.5 years just buy a decent entry level pro HD cam... you could probably get one for like $4.5K.

    For #3, are you going to have access to power? If so, stay away from those USB powered drives, they fail like no other.

    What exactly are you going to be shooting? Man Vs Wild, pretty pictures, documentary? etc? That will help you determine what other gear you need (mics, etc).
     
  4. Jcolman

    Jcolman OT Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2002
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    84
    Location:
    east coast
    You've got no experience shooting video and creating movies but you want to buy all this stuff and learn how to become a filmmaker in a months time?

    Good luck with that.

    Knowledge of how and what to do is more valuable than the equipment. You're setting yourself up for massive fail.
     
  5. tenplanescrashing

    tenplanescrashing Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Messages:
    9,287
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can only help you with the Mac/import situation...

    Get the 15" MBP unless you need the 17" screen. Make sure they make FW800 cables that will connect to the camcorder of your choice. I can't assume they make them since i'm still using FW400, so do your research on this. Purchase the larger HD for the laptop as you'll need it for the edits. Also purchase a self-powered external USB HD. AC powered ones are better, but thats another cable to carry around.

    If you don't know how to use FCP, you're in for a lot of trial and error. While it isn't super hard, it isn't super easy either. Worry more about capturing the footage first then about PP when you're done.

    Is your editing happening while you're out or just when you get back? I don't really recommend a laptop for video editing, even though it can be done.
     
  6. FlashhslaF

    FlashhslaF New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    4,586
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd put my priorities on enjoying my trip and capturing all the things i want to capture and then coming home and editing all the countless hours of video i captured.

    I'd hate it if i had to spend hours on end at night editing what i had taken video of and then going out the next day to take more video. I would rather take video of what i want in different ways, back it up, move on to the next location.
     
  7. isaac86hatch

    isaac86hatch This thread sucks

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2005
    Messages:
    27,892
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Oregon
  8. davidI

    davidI New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2001
    Messages:
    2,639
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Up in the Air
    As I said in my post, I don't really want to buy a prosumer shoulder camera due to the bulk while traveling. I've heard the HV40 gives reasonable quality and is suitable for what i need.

    It's going to be a documentary, but mostly just landscapes and scenes with voice and sound added after. It would be good to have a decent mic for filming some of the "lifestyle" shots I envision, just because I won't be able to reproduce those sounds after the fact.

    I'm not expecting to be a pro by any means, just getting started in this as more of a hobby than anything and excited to have a project to work on while learning. :hs:

    Thanks for this! I may do the editing after the fact, so the laptop may not be necessary however I kind of want a Macbook for other purposes so it wouldn't hurt to get one capable of running FCP. I'll be working 5 week on / 5 week off rotations (meaning every 5 weeks I'll do a 5 week trip and then have 5 weeks to edit if I so desire) so we'll see how it goes.

    As above, doing the 5 week on / 5 week off thing so I won't have to edit while moving. That's also why I'm looking at HDV tapes...as I wouldn't even need to carry a laptop while traveling!

    :hsd:
     

Share This Page